Friday, May 26, 2017

Romero's K-9 Club and Tap House in Lafayette, Colorado

The first time I heard of this tap house I was a little wary because of the k9 aspect, all I could image was dogs running all over the venue. I have to say, I was wrong! It is a wonderful place to have a beer and you don't have to worry about the other patrons dogs either. Romero's is one of a handful of tap houses that has a wonderful tap list, I think with Lenny's background in beer helped shaped the venue.
On any given day they could have some local and out of state breweries, Romero's also has wine on tap and canned beers which is for drinking on premises only. You can buy pretzels from a local company and snacks for your pooch.

Lenny and Maria have it worked out. First you have to register your dog with all of the dog's information. Secondly, they also have house rules that are fairly enforced. The tap house has a nice size bar with a few tables that have carbine clips to secure your dog's leash. There is a large patio area that is enclosed during cold weather and two areas for dogs to run under owners supervision. Since it is a dog friendly bar, children under 16 aren't allowed. Lenny and Maria are very adamant about that, it is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Lenny Torres and Maria Redondo started this idea of a tap house in 2013 while on vacation in the Southeast.  My husband and I met them at Oskar Blues taproom, The Tasty Weasel around 2014. They were on a beer vacation so we recommended a few of our favorite beer venues and also told them about our beer app, The Colorado Beer Tour. So we were surprised to see that they opened a tap house in our neck of the woods in Lafayette, Colorado. In Boulder county, there's a high per capita of dogs to people so I imagine that was a selling point.

In an email interview, Lenny told me that it was Maria that got him into craft beer. She was a bartender at World of Beer in Orlando, Florida and became infatuated with craft beer. Maria went from bartending to Opening Coordinator for the WOB franchise where she traveled to many cities outside of Florida. In that position she trained all new employees in beer, such as the background and the different styles.  Maria continued to work at the World of Beer as a Product Manager and General Manager when they moved to Colorado.

Lenny background was in distribution of beer. He started working as an assistant product manager at a farm to table restaurant when an opportunity came his way for an accountant manager position at a specialty beverage distributor in Florida. There he was able to make beer connections with the top breweries from around the country. When they moved to Colorado, Lenny was able to get a sales position with Crooked Stave Artisans, the distribution part of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project in Denver.

It really didn't take long before they had a business plan, secured capital, and found the right location for the tap house. They have been open since August 12, 2016 and will be celebrating their first year soon. Some time late 2017 they plan to have a permanent food truck on site and they will also continue hosting other food trucks. Due to the Health Department rules of forbidding animals in food production areas, Romero's can't have food preparations in the taproom.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Making Noise: a Pussy Riot Ale

The past election has left people with a feeling of hopelessness in many communities that Bess Dougherty, a brewer from Denver decided to take action. Bess and Kelissa Hieber from Goldspot Brewing collaborated on a protest beer for the upcoming inauguration.  What a fun way to voice one's political position. They had the intention to just brew a one-off beer at Goldspot Brewing but with popular response on Facebook the mission took off with 5 breweries wanting to host brew days and multiple bars will host tappings of the beer.  There were 20 ladies who participated in the brewing of the protest beer.

Bess Dougherty has worked in the brewing industry for many years. She was the head brewer at Wynkoop Brewing and is getting ready to open a new brewery. Kelissa Hieber works at Goldspot Brewing. Goldspot Brewing wanted to lead the way with this project. They like to get involved with the community in anyway they can and brewing a beer is right up their alley!

Bess and Kelissa decided on the style of for the protest beer, it’s an Imperial Saison and each brewery created their own recipe. Goldspot Brewing added strawberries, 3 Freaks Brewing made the Imperial Saison with lavender, Lady Justice Brewing did it with Warrior Hops, Black Sky made a black Saison with peppercorns, and Brewability Lab make it with Acai. I would be fun to go to all 5 breweries to taste each version of the Imperial Saison. The protest beer at each location is a tap release only, so once it’s gone, it’s gone!

The name, Making Noise: a Pussy Riot, it’s the Russian feminist protest Punk band, Pussy Riot. Bess has been a following them for many years and scored tickets to a panel discussion that a couple of the members of the band were on, this happened a few days after the presidential election. The event struck a chord with Bess, especially the words from one in the band, it takes action and activism to be a member of Pussy Riot.

The mission statement in making this beer is:

We believe in an America that celebrates its diversity, an America that protects and supports anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender, identity, race, religious views or immigration status. We condemn the hate that has always existed against marginalized groups and we will not stand for the new strong wave hitting our country. We felt it necessary to take action and decided to use our art to make our voices heard. We are coming out in support of those most at risk in our community and doing what we can to stand together as a united voice against hate and intolerance. This beer works to combat the hate and oppression while also lending support and solidarity to the fight for equality. We believe in this beautiful community and we feel it is necessary to work together to protect it.
We are asking that at least $1 from every pint sold at each participating brewery will go towards a charity that supports those most at risk in our community. We are also working with our partners for tap takeovers to ensure that proceeds from those events also go towards the proposed charities.

You might be hearing more about Bess and Kelissa in future collaborations.

To get more information before Friday, they have a Facebook event page,

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Volunteering at the 2016 GABF

GABF week has come and gone but it has built many memories. I, for one had a terrific time while volunteering for the paired event at GABF. It is for AHA and BA members only. It cost quite a bit of cash, $145 but it includes the pairings of chef to brewery plus entrance to the main GABF event.
Through a friend of mine who has volunteered at the Paired event for a couple of years I decided to volunteer too. There is a process of submitting an application along with a recommendation from a previous volunteer. There is also emails going back and forth with information and instructions about being a GABF volunteer.

Fellow Paired volunteers, Kirsten,
Deborah, and Jeff. 

The day of the first session was on Thursday, we arrive early to check in. We get a t-shirt which we have to wear while volunteering and a plastic tasting container for beer. Yes, we are allowed to taste beer on our break but getting wasted is very discouraged. We met up with our team lead, Laura Lodge who gives us a tour of the paired venue and off we go to our station.
Matt Lincecum
Jared Barker and Mike Friedman.

There were 22 tables that had 7 local chefs and 4 local breweries from metro Denver and Boulder. Lost Abbey, The Bruery, Oskar Blues, Ninkasi Brewing, Grand Teton and Bear Republic to name drop a few breweries that were there.

Gnoochi alla Romana.

Chicken Liver mousse.

 My station was with Fremont Brewing from Seattle and Mike Friedman, head chef of Red Hen from Washington DC. The concept is the breweries bring 2 beers and the chefs will create 2 small plates that pair with the beer. Fremont Brewing brought Field to Ferment, a fresh hop pale ale that Chef Friedman paired with a gnocchi alla romana with smoked salmon, cucumber, creme fraiche and trout roe. The second pairing was with The Lamb, a  Saison aged in oak wine barrels with a touch of Brettanomyces Lambicus, with chicken liver mousse, fig jam, fresh thyme, and hazelnuts, sandwiched between rye bread. The first day was boring standing there waiting for something to do like get water, or pass the plates to the front table. By the end of the day, I was very tired but the brewery and the chef congratulating me on a good job. The Fremont founder Matt Lincecum was there with a few of the breweries crew. They were very nice so was Mike Friedman and Jared Barker, General manager of Red Hen. They were very friendly and didn’t mind me being there drinking their beers and eating some of the small plates of food. I have to say both did a great job with the pairings. The Fremont Brewing and the Red Hen crew made the experience more enjoyable.

I took a few 10 minute breaks to taste from the other tables of paired small plates and beer. It is amazing how full you can get eating the small plates that each chef brought for their pairing of beer. I saw many people I know there at the pairing event and some famous people in the brewing industry, Eric Wallace, founder of Left Hand Brewing,  who I have been acquainted to for many years stopped by and said hello, while tasting the small dish. Our table was right in front of the entrance so most people stop there first. Jeremy Teiber, who I have written about in a previous post, was there with his wife, Allison and their year old daughter. I saw, Tomme Arthur, Lost Abbey founder wandering through the event and I praised the founder of Dry Dock Brewing, Kevin DeLange on his incredible beers that they are brewing these days.

The second day of pairings went faster because I got to help more with plating both dishes. The press were allowed in an hour early that day so there was more of a rush of plating to do. For both days the Fremont Brewing crew had also brought three flavors of chocolate from Theo Chocolate in Seattle with a case of the brewery's Rusted Nail, a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout with cinnamon, licorice, and smoked barley. That beer went fast and it paired well with the chocolate.

Theo Chocolate in three flavors,
dark chocolate, dark chocolate
with orange, and dark chocolate
with coconut.
One of the Fremont Brewing's crew
pouring Rusted Nail.

It was a very nice experience volunteering at the GABF. So if you're interested in Paired at GABF make sure you are a member of the American Home brewers Association or the Brewers Association. See you next year!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sour Sunday 2016

It’s that time of the year again, GABF and to kick start the week is Sour Sunday at Backcountry Pizza and Tap House in Boulder Colorado. John Fayman and his staff did a wonderful job with this event, they had to clear tap lines to make room for all the sour ales. Anthony Lopiccolo, head chef at Backcountry Pizza was buzzing around looking after the food pairing of the sour ales. At noon, Cantillion Fou Foune, lambic with apricots was on cask. It's a sour ale from Belgium and rarely seen in Colorado.

The restaurant opened an hour earlier than usual, 10 am and there was a line growing outside the bar doors.  It seems early but as the saying goes, “It’s noon somewhere, right?”  
John Fayman and Max at the bar.

After getting a seat at the bar, we perused the beer menu and was a little overwhelmed by all the sour ales. Only at this kind of event do they offer a full pour (10 ounces) or a half pour (5 ounces) for every sour ale on tap. They also had bottle pours in the game room but they were only giving full pours.  After a moment or two I picked the ales I wanted to try as a half pour, Almanac Brewing’s Pumpkin Pie de Brettaville, a 7% ABV sour/wild ale with pumpkin, vanilla beans, pumpkin spices aged in oak barrels. It wasn’t my favorite. The other sour ale was from Cascade Brewing, Blackcap raspberry sour, 8.13% ABV with Blackcap raspberries aged in Oak barrels and it had that raspberry tartness. I went to the game room and got a full pour of Jester Kings Astrial Rubicite, this was my favorite beer of the day! It was like drinking raspberry jam, I called it a jammie flavor. Since it was in bottles, it was the first to kick.
Jester King Astrial Rubicite.
Almanac Pumpkin Pie de Brettaville and
Cascade Blackcap Raspberry.

Anthony made blueberry muffins with lemon curd glaze, those muffins went very well with the sour ales. We didn’t have an entree but we know how Anthony plans the pairings careful. Cheers to John and Anthony for another successful Sour Sunday!
Ryan pouring beers in the game room.

Photos of some of the Sour Sunday patrons:
Lucy (waitstaff), Dennis, Lisa and Emma.

Allison and Jeremy and baby.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

BSB 4th Anniversary

Wednesday, September 29 was the start of Black Shirt Brewing's 4-day anniversary celebration. We bought a VIP tickets for $10 that included a glass with their barrel-aged Anniversary Quad and some swag (can cozies and a brewery sticker). There were 12 others beers on tap as well.

Our VIP ticket was for Friday so we headed down to Denver around 11:30, I know that's early but we had other things to do later that afternoon and what about that old saying, "It's noon somewhere!" As expected it wasn't busy yet, with only one other patron at the bar.

We ordered the Quad, one on CO2 and the other on nitro.  It is always amazing how the flavors of a beer changes when on nitro, it's smoother, is mellower, and goes down way too easy especially since the quad is 9.5% this year.  The Anniversary Quad 4 Ways will have a different aspect of it each day: Thursday was regular, Friday was nitro, Saturday will have coffee infused in it, and Sunday will have chocolate/chili flavors.  
CO2 Quad on the left and the
nitro version right.

Carissa Miller, one of founders, was on hand while hubby Chad was delivering their canned beers and while brother-in-law, Branden was on his honeymoon. We had a great time talking to her about beer. It's been a long haul for those 3 people who wanted to start a brewery on their terms.
Carissa wanted me to try their gose, brewed with Yuzu, Lemongrass, Hawaiian Red Gold Sea Salt, dry-hopped w/ Equinox & Hallertau Blanc.  It was good but just a tad bit salty for me. You need that right balance of salt with the flavors for a great gose.

Happy Anniversary!

Larry Smith and Carissa Miller chatting it up!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

UK Adventure with some beer too!

Recently I was on an adventure of a lifetime with my family. We took a holiday to London to visit my daughter who lives there. The first day we were in a great stupor, jet lag. Heathrow to Brixton to the center of London until night was a tiring expedition to say in the least! We must have walked 15 miles that day which is easy in London with so many sights to see.

My first beer in London was in the top floor of the Waterstones Bookstore, 5th View Bar and Food. It is a rather nice with many professionals having cocktails and food in a comfortable atmosphere.  We ordered some appetizers with libations.  I had a pale ale from Whitstable Bay, light and crisp and it hit the spot after a long day.

We traveled to York then to the Town Hall of Goldsborough, to what we thought was an ancestral home but later found out our ancestors fought among themselves and burnt the family house down. Oh well, that’s family for you! We were in Knaresborough when it started to rain and we stopped in a local pub. I wasn’t impressed with their beer lineup but we did stay dry.

Back in York, I visited the York Brewery and I wasn’t disappointed. They have been brewing beer since 1996 with many IPAs, Pale Ales, ESBs on tap and something I liked, Imperial Stout on cask. That ‘s what I ordered and what the bartender poured was a large goblet of this luscious stout, at 7.0%, and it went down easy that I had another. The brewery has a 20-barrel system with 6 traditional open top fermenters and 5 conditioning tanks.

Imperial Stout and a Pale Ale

Next stop in York was a Belgian beer bar, Trembling Madness! Yes, that's the name of the bottle shop and pub. The building has been there for many, many years and the beams on the upper floor came from a ship that sailed over 800 years ago. I did manage to buy some bottles of beer to take back home with me. My husband didn’t care for the double IPA and he hasn’t cracked open the two barleywines yet. I had a Westmalle strong ale that was very good.
Westmalle and a pilsner (I don't
the brewery).
On the lower right side is the House of Trembling Madness!

These animal heads have been at this wall for many years.

Later in the week we were in Brixton where we stopped by the Craft Beer Co, it’s a tap house with 5 other locations around London. I had the Double Perle Imperial Stout, at 8.5%  it was really smooth with hints of coffee and chocolate. The next beer stop was at the Brixton Brewery which is located under the railway arch in an industrial area with a metal garage door. The taproom is very small with four long wood tables with bench seats. They had 4 beers on tap and 2 you could buy in bottles. I had the Saison which wasn’t listed on the beer board. It was good but had a sharp horsey aftertaste. My sister bought a bottle of the pale ale and said it was good.  The brewery taproom is only open on Saturday.

Harry Beswick, General Manager.

My sister, Dana out front in the

James (sales) and Laura (taproom) were
very friendly and helpful that Saturday.

Later we were in the heart of London at the Ten Bells Pub which has been open since 1756!  Two of Jack the Ripper’s victims frequented the pub, it’s always nice to have a bit of history to go along with your beer. They have a limited selection so I had a Guinness stout. It was a kind of go to beer for me in the UK.

The last night in the UK was spent in Brixton at a local pub, The White Horse. We had the Sunday roast of ribeye with mashed potatoes, cooked veggies. I had my go to beer, Guinness stout.

Sunday Roast at the White Horse Pub
in Brixton.

I know there is so many new craft breweries in the UK so my next trip to London will be to check out the beers. Oh I did have Butterbeer at the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios, not real beer but still cool!